Politics

Mitt Romney Has Officially Announced He’s Running for Senate in Utah

The former Massachusetts governor is aiming for the seat held by Republican Orrin Hatch.


Mitt Romney

Photo via AP/Rogelio V. Solis

The cat has been out of the bag for a while, but now it’s official: Mitt Romney is running for Senate in Utah, where he’s a clear favorite to win.

“I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah’s values to Washington,” he wrote in a tweet.

The Republican and former Massachusetts governor had been expected to run for the seat vacated by Sen. Orrin Hatch, who said in January he would retire. Romney even provided a few not-subtle clues about his intentions. And then, after delaying an announcement following the school shooting in Florida, Romney finally came out with it Friday morning.

The tweet was accompanied by a video that touts Romney’s history in politics and business, and makes the case that the politician—who has butted heads with the president again and again, and has taken non-Trumpian stances, like saying Roy Moore is bad—can be a moderating force at a troubled time in Washington, contrasting the capital with the state he hopes to represent in D.C.

“Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington,” he says in the video. “Utah has balanced its budget; Washington is buried in debt. Utah exports more abroad than it imports; Washington has that backward. Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world; Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion. And on Utah’s Capitol Hill, people treat one another with respect. I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington. Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah.”

In the video, he does not mention Trump by name. Nor does he mention his time as Massachusetts’ governor, Romneycare, or his ill-fated run for president as the Republican nominee in 2012.

He does however, recount a part of his history that he’s sure to bring up again and again on the campaign trail: The 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. As voters are sure to remember, he infamously took over the troubled event and led it to success and profitability—a feat seldom achieved in the Olympics. He bestows credit for that on Utah residents, who, he recalls, turned out in huge numbers to volunteer.

He also announced the launch of a campaign website.

Romney, who was born in Michigan, is far and away the favorite to win. In a January poll, 64 percent of Utahns favor him, compared to 18 percent for his Democratic rival. It’s possible, though, that he could face criticism for tenuous ties to the Beehive State. For proof just look to the Chairman of the Utah Republican Party, Rob Anderson, who had this to say about him this week in the Salt Lake Tribune: “I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here.”

Here is the full text of Romney’s slick campaign ad:

Utah is admired not only for its beauty but also for the character of its people. Utahns are known for hard work, innovation, and our can-do pioneering spirit. But more than these, we’re known as a people who can serve, who care, and who rise to any occasion. When I joined Utah’s 2002 Olympics team, the games were in trouble. People wondered whether we would be able to recruit the 25,000 volunteers we needed to work 17 straight days for no pay and no tickets. When we put the word out, 47,000 applied.

Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington. Utah has balanced its budget; Washington is buried in debt. Utah exports more abroad than it imports; Washington has that backward. Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world. Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion. And on Utah’s Capitol Hill, people treat one another with respect. I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington. Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah.

Over the last 5 years, Ann and I have spent a good deal of time with our 24 grandchildren. I’ve gone back to business, campaigned for Republicans and met with young people from across the country. Ann has championed her center for neurologic research. 

Given all that American faces, we feel that this is the right time for me to serve our state and our country. I ask for your support and your vote and I look forward to meeting you over the coming year. If you give me this opportunity I will owe the Senate seat to no one but the people of Utah. No donor, no corporation will own my campaign or bias my vote, and let there be no question: I will fight for Utah.